Exactly how far back do Tesla’s commercial energy storage ambitions date? An interesting question. Considering the seemingly common-sense “symbiosis” of electric vehicle production operations and commercial battery storage operations, one would probably think that the idea has been in the minds of Tesla’s executives for quite some time.
Interestingly, there appears to be something to this sort of speculation, as an old (now long deleted) blog post on Tesla’s website was recently uncovered by the folks over at Electrek that was titled “Introducing Tesla Energy Group.” It was apparently written by the company’s old CEO, Martin Eberhard, one of the company’s cofounders. Not much ambiguity to that, huh?
The deleted blog post dates back to May 22, 2007, but the oldest archived version (that we know of) that’s currently accessible dates to 2009 (you can see it here) — so it’s not entirely clear when it was deleted, as it’s been gone for at least the past few years.
Electrek’s Fred Lambert provides more info and ideas:
In the post, Tesla’s former CEO goes in details about the motivation behind the new venture with context at the company in 2007.
Eberhard explains the goal of the new Tesla division: “Tesla Energy Group is a group within Tesla Motors, created to allow us to design and sell Energy Storage Systems (ESSes) to other companies.”
Eberhard explains that the idea originated from cell manufacturers referring Tesla when they were asked about energy storage systems. Especially interest from the manufacturer of the now defunct “TH!NK car.”
Bernard Tse, a member of Tesla board of directors at the time, resigned from the board to lead the Tesla Energy Group. Unfortunately, not everything was going well at Tesla in 2007–2008 and Eberhard was replaced as CEO, then left Tesla not long after. The company killed the project to focus their limited resources on the Roadster that had yet to start production. Tse also left Tesla not long after and founded Atieva to develop and sell battery packs to car manufacturers. Atieva has since changed its focus and is expected to announce an electric car soon.
Hmm. Interesting to see the backstory of the decision laid out like this. It seems that higher-ups at the company have been eyeing the commercial energy storage market for quite some time now. With the public response to Tesla’s recent battery pack unveiling, that interest seems to have been justified.
Image Credit: Tesla
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